En­cour­age more robo-calls? No, no, no!

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE -

There are few an­noy­ances as con­stant in mod­ern life as robo­calls. De­spite a 1991 fed­eral law meant to limit them, robo- calls to Amer­i­cans set a new record last month with 4.1 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany be­hind the YouMail call- block­ing ap­pli­ca­tion.

Part of the rea­son the calls are surg­ing is be­cause of a fed­eral court de­ci­sion this year that struck down some Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion rules, The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ports. But in­stead of the FCC seek­ing to reim­pose re­stric­tions with rules that could stand up in court — or, more wisely, the FCC working with Congress to up­date a 1991 law that long pre­dated smart­phones — the agency may go the op­po­site di­rec­tion and not seek new re­stric­tions. That’s due to heavy lob­by­ing by wealthy cor­po­ra­tions that like to use auto- dial call­ing to re­mind peo­ple to pay bills or to con­sider their prod­ucts.

“We are at se­ri­ous risk of see­ing the ex­ist­ing robo- call prob­lem, which is al­ready se­ri­ous, get far, far worse,” Margot Saun­ders, an at­tor­ney at the Na­tional Con­sumer Law Cen­ter, told the Post. “If the in­dus­try is per­mit­ted to send un­lim­ited texts and make un­lim­ited ( robo- calls), with­out the abil­ity of the con­sumer to say stop, who knows what hor­ri­ble things will hap­pen?”

In March, FCC Chair­man Ajit Pai wrote that he agreed with for­mer Demo­cratic South Carolina Sen. Fritz Hollings that robo­calls are “the scourge of civ­i­liza­tion.” That is no less true to­day. The FCC should rein in this prac­tice — not en­cour­age it.

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